Law Society of Upper Canada

Law Society of Upper Canada

June 14, 2012 14:56 ET

Media Advisory/Photo Opportunity: Rt. Hon. Michaelle Jean to receive honorary doctorate from Law Society

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 14, 2012) - The Law Society of Upper Canada will present a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), to the 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., at its Call to the Bar ceremony in Ottawa on June 19.

Madam Jean will receive the honour in recognition of her distinguished work as a journalist, broadcaster, lecturer, social activist, and as Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada from 2005 to 2010. Throughout her remarkable career, she has been very active in her support for abused women and children at risk. Her work with disadvantaged and underprivileged youth carries on through the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.

As part of its call ceremonies each year, the Law Society awards honorary doctorates to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the graduating classes as they begin their careers.

Law Society Treasurer Laurie H. Pawlitza will present the honorary LLD to Madam Jean who will then deliver the keynote address to the new lawyers.

The Law Society will call 232 new lawyers to the Bar of Ontario at the ceremony. More than 1,300 new lawyers are being called at the five Call to the Bar ceremonies held throughout Ontario in June.

A biography of Madam Jean is attached.
When: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
10:00 a.m.
Where: National Arts Centre
53 Elgin Street, at Confederation Square
Ottawa, Ontario

Please note: Upon arrival, please check in at the media desk. On-site interviews and photos may be arranged in advance. Please confirm your attendance in advance.

Biography of The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, C.C., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D.

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean was sworn in as the 27th Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada and assumed the function of Head of State in 2005, following a successful career as journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Madam Jean immigrated to Canada with her family in 1968, fleeing the dictatorial regime of the time.

After earning a BA in Italian and Hispanic languages and literature at the University of Montréal, she pursued her master's degree in comparative literature and taught at the university's Faculty of Italian Studies.

During her studies, Madam Jean worked for 10 years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.

She later became a highly regarded journalist and anchor person for information programs at Radio-Canada and CBC Newsworld. She also took part in documentary films produced by her husband, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, including A State of Blackness: Aimé Césaire's Way; Tropic North; Haiti in All Our Dreams; and Last Call for Cuba, all of which earned awards both in Canada and internationally.

Madam Jean has won numerous awards, including the Prix Mireille-Lanctôt for a report on spousal violence; the Prix Anik for best information reporting in Canada for her investigation of the power of money in Haitian society; and the inaugural Amnesty International Canada Journalism Award.

She has also been named to the Ordre des Chevaliers de La Pléiade, by the Assemblée internationale des parlementaires de langue française, and has been made an honorary citizen by the City of Montréal and the Ministère de l'Immigration et des relations avec les citoyens du Québec, in recognition of her accomplishments in communications.

As Governor General and Commander-in-Chief from 2005 to 2010, Madam Jean was a fervent practitioner of "diplomacy of proximity" and "diplomacy on a human scale." She led 40 missions and State visits abroad in Afghanistan and China, as well as in 10 African countries, nine countries in the Americas, and more than 10 European countries.

On October 1, 2010, Madam Jean was appointed UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti. She and her husband oversee the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, which supports youth arts initiatives that transform young lives and revitalize underserved communities across Canada.

The former Governor General was presented the 2009 United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Canada Award for her outstanding manner in advancing gender equality.

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